So I did it, I finally took that leap and used Minecraft in my class. I have had the Minecraft app on my iPad for a long time now, and played it a couple times not really being able to get into it. My students last year and this years class would always tell me about all the things they were making and telling me how to start.
I finally took that leap into the deep end with my class and installed Minecraft onto the iPads. Knowing the basics of the game, I was relying on my students knowledge of the game to work through the problem, and bring those few students who have never played and me with my limited knowledge along.
In Science we are just finishing up our unit on Rocks and Minerals and have done a number of hands on exploring the properties of various rock and mineral samples. This exploration which came from http://www.funlessonplans.net/minecraft-lessons.html. Involved students comparing the hardness of rocks and minerals in the Minecraft world to rocks and minerals in the real world with the Moh’s hardness scale.
Their were lots of aha moments and confirmation of learning that had happened throughout the unit. The buzz in the room was amazing!
— Mr Wigmore’s Class (@MrWigmoresclass) April 14, 2015
— Mr Wigmore’s Class (@MrWigmoresclass) April 15, 2015
At the end as students were finishing up their explorations, partners got a chance to create something in the Minecraft world that showed an understanding of a rocks and minerals concept they learned throughout the unit. This learning was then posted on our Minecraft Padlet wall.
It was the time after where some of the students got a chance to share their world with us, when their real understanding of concepts was evident. They explained their worlds with scientific language and enthusiasm. In the days after the activity, students were bringing in their devices to show my all the elements they added at home to their creation they started in class. A continuation of learning at home – Success!
I will definately be using Minecraft in the classroom again but I have some exploration and research to do first. Some questions I still need to explore/find answers for are:
-Any differences between PC or iPad version of Minecraft?
-Can I customize the starting world, so they all begin with the same terrain?
-Can they all in the same world without the App lagging?
-How else can I incorporate Minecraft in a meaningful way?
Time to go build with virtual blocks. Happy Building!